The situation with whooping cough (pertussis) is currently under control, but it remains unstable due to an increase in confirmed cases, totaling 56, with 46 cases reported in Skopje, according to Aleksandar Petlichkovski, the Chair of the Commission for Infectious Diseases. Among the cases, 14 involve children under the age of 1, with an additional nine in the 1-4 age group.

Petlichkovski noted that the demographic structure of cases is evolving, with adolescents aged 10-14 and older emerging, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming weeks. He emphasized the healthcare system’s primary concern is preventing the infection’s spread among small children, particularly infants under the age of 1, who are most affected and vulnerable.

Since the commission’s initial recommendation on January 18, over 13,000 children have been vaccinated. However, Petlichkovski highlighted the ongoing need for inoculating thousands more children.

Regarding adult revaccination, Petlichkovski explained that while pertussis is not severe for adults and can be treated with medicines, adults can be carriers and transmit the infection to small children. He mentioned that vaccines for adults are expected to arrive soon, likely by the next week, and will be recommended for pregnant women.

Petlichkovski emphasized the importance of revaccinating adults, especially those living in communities with children under the age of 1, to prevent disease transmission.

Addressing the possibility of a measles epidemic in North Macedonia, Commission spokesperson Zlate Mehmedovikj urged parents to conscientiously vaccinate their children. He emphasized that a 95% vaccination rate is a guarantee for a safe population and the prevention of disease spread. Mehmedovikj highlighted the anti-vax movement as the primary threat to public health.